“We were on a fast train to a drunk oblivion.”*

26 07 2011

*from “Deep Oblivion” by David Lowery

Ahem.

Yes, I’m alive. Been crazy busy this summer: There are increased responsibilities in the day job, two growing boys keeping me busy at home, writing and editing duties, and additional promotional stuff for Southern Fried Weirdness: Reconstruction going on behind the scenes. But it’s not all crazy busy-ness.  There was also a nice (but all too brief) week spent at the beach with cool drinks in hand.

I’m kind of sorry for neglecting the Internets but not that sorry. I look around and see the same squabbles, the same arguments, the same in-fighting and that old us vs. them mentality at work in so many places as I glance daily through the links Charles Tan so expertly and efficiently rounds-up every day for us on his blog and over at www.sfsignal.com. However, reading these posts can sometimes be almost as fun as watching current American politicians discuss the budget and debt ceiling on C-SPAN, almost as peaceful while showcasing the same willingness to compromise, too…  Argh. Enough already! The comment threads go on and on and on and on, an endless echo saying nothing at all. Question: How many trolls does it take to start a flame war? Answer: One is enough if they’re carrying a big enough
match. And I hate flame wars. I’ve gone into this before, but online communication is incomplete communication. One simply can’t debate through text the same way friends can discuss politics or literature over a beer and a game of pool. Too much gets lost. It’s easy to fire off personal attacks when you don’t see the people you’re attacking, hence the popularity of computer-guided missiles and drones in current military actions. Sure, sometimes it’s necessary (I guess), but it’s never fun to watch the fallout. Too many civilian casualties pile up. And no, online flame wars aren’t the same as real wars by any stretch – it’s not a fair or accurate comparison, not by a long shot, and I tip my hat to any of you currently serving or who have served in the past and would never want to diminish your experiences and the sacrifices made for the safety of your home nation – but I find the trend of depersonalization in all aspects of our current wired society both fascinating and a little bit disturbing.

Still lots (MOST) of you are good people, even if (some of) you do fight about things I find ridiculous. I’ll try to swing by more frequently. Promise.

Some updates to report:

There have been a few interviews at Fantasy Magazine. I got to talk to a few of my heroes and create pieces I am proud of over there. Recent interviews with M. Rickert and Jeffery Ford were real treats for me as discovering their short fiction a few years ago was one of the key inspirations that brought me back to writing genre fiction after a long break from writing anything at all. Their short stories reminded me genre fiction isn’t always just genre fiction, that it could be something else that transcends the old tropes and defies established genres to create new genres that are only limited by one’s imagination, and therefore, almost limitless in possibilities. Reality explained through unreality. Magic realism, surrealism, unicorns, haunted houses, and robots should all be able to coexist, right? Sure. Why not? And, when all is said and done, even the most fantastic story has something to say about reality if one looks hard enough.

Speaking of stories, my story “The Path” was recently accepted for publication in the fairly new Australian e-zine Roar and Thunder. Also, I recently saw the final proofs for the upcoming anthology While the Morning Stars Sing (http://www.resaliens.com/print-publications/) from ResAliens Press. This anthology features my short story, “We Are Us,” alongside many other cool contributions. I see quite a few familiar names on that table of contents. Also, “We Can Watch the White Doves Go,” is forthcoming in the fall issue of Innsmouth Free Press.

When it comes to active writing projects, I have written a boat-load of new short stories so far this summer. Also, continuing to work on my novel-in-progress, a weird Southern retelling of Orpheus with Asperger’s thing. Like the acid western novel I completed last year, I’m not exactly sure how to classify it genre-wise. Not sure how I would market it in the current market dominated by paranormal romances and YA fiction. All the same, I’m having fun writing it, but it is giving me trouble. The progress is slow and I do not want to rush this one. It is by far the most personal thing I’ve ever written. I’m not worried about word-counts or other randomly generated goals while writing this one, just worried about getting it right, to make sure it says all I want it to say in just the right way. It’s sitting between 40,000 and 50,000 words depending on my mood each day (some scenes keep disappearing only to reappear in different places in the narrative).

Self-publication stuff: Still planning on producing a self-published e-book of TOUCH sometime in the future after giving it a solid edit or two. But that project on the back-burner at the moment. I’m seriously considering self-publishing a low cost e-book version of my episodic science fantasy novel, The Fountain at the End of the World. I already have the cover worked up and have edited it a few times. This collection would contain all of my “Fountain” stories, including those originally published over at Everyday Weirdness. I’ve had a few requests from several circles of friends for this complete novel, and I am seriously thinking about tossing this thing out there as a gift to everyone who’s been so supportive of me over these last few years. It’s not exactly a standard commercial project (at around 50,000 words it’s short for a genre novel, most of it has previously been published, large chunks are freely available online, etc., etc.), so it might be a perfect text to use as an experiment in self-publishing. Just mulling this over… What are your thoughts?

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